This eARC was provided through NetGalley from Penguin Group Dutton in exchange for an honest review.
When I noticed this book on NetGalley, I was immediately intrigued- anything that sounds like I get to vicariously travel sounds like a read for me. I sent off my request for a copy, and eagerly waited. It took some time before I got approved, and I had almost given up hope, but when I got a “congratulations” email, my excitement was renewed- though I had to wait even more as this eARC was approved during my chaotic November.
Anyways, from page one, this novel hooks the reader into the intimate life of Leah Eady after her husband, Robert, goes missing. They fell in love with many things in common, but the biggest being their adoration of French writing and Paris. When Robert goes missing, it’s not the first time he’s slipped off to write without more than a tiny note, but it’s certainly the longest he’s been gone, and Leah feels like there’s something different about it this time. After weeks of waiting, they find a clue, a confirmation number for four for a flight to Paris- maybe he wants them to meet in Paris?
When it becomes clear that he isn’t waiting for them in an obvious location, the Eady women- Leah and her daughters Daphne and Ellie- try to distract themselves with the wonders of the city. The longer they stay the more they enjoy Paris- but it doesn’t heal the hurt felt by losing Robert. They’re constantly looking for him, and many times, the girls swear to their mother that they’ve seen him.
Leah struggles to handle the fact that her husband has left her, and even more so because there’s nothing that proves whether he’s dead, or gone. Living in limbo, she must decide what is best for her and her daughters- to move on, or to not give up hope that Robert is somewhere, alive and searching for them too.
The best way I can describe the overall vibe of Callanan’s writing is emotionally and intimately obscure. As a reader, I can feel the emotion in the writing, and it’s very descriptive, but I had no idea where the plot was heading, and there was very little linear writing. The character’s inner thoughts jumped around, the timeline is all over the place… it’s a bit of a mess, really. It took me an absurd amount of time to get the simplest of details about this family- their names, ages- yet I felt like I was looking through a microscope of their lives, and could see exactly where and what these characters looked like. As the novel went on, I felt myself losing the initial excitement I felt, because the main character made me feel emotionally drained. I struggled to maintain interest far beyond the middle of the book, but I kept reading in the hopes that Robert would reappear. In the end, I was just disappointed- it felt as if the climax of the novel peaked in around the middle, and the conclusion took forever to get to. Sadly, I don’t think I would recommend this book.